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Hot Rods to Hell (1967)
What a Great Nostalgic Sleeper of a Film!
I'm rating this film high due to the fact it was one of those that seemed to make a big impact to a 10-year-old kid when I first saw it, and incredibly, still seems to hold some of that original charm. Made in 1966 but supposedly not released until a year later (although I swear I remember seeing in sometime in '66 on TV), it is basically a cautionary tale with some good tense action and decent acting. Fast-paced and furious, as a kid I found it to be quite scary and disturbing, and I remember worrying about what might happen to the family during their plight. This is a very rare sleeper that is difficult to find, much less on DVD, but I am happy to report that Netflix now offers it as a rental! Nine stars for the nostalgia of it all!
Virgil Bliss (2001)
A Beautifully Touching Film
I really had to keep reminding myself that I was actually watching a MOVIE, and not experiencing a real scenario. The acting is absolutely STUNNING; the characters of Virgil and Ruby are so incredibly realistic that you will forget these are actually actors and not real people. I felt that Virgil and Ruby were soul mates, but due to the hopeless circumstances on which their relationship was based, their union was doomed from the start. This movie is what independent film-making is all about; Virgil Bliss will solidify the fact that regardless of your budget, if you get the right talent, the right director and writer, you can make a masterpiece! 9 out of 10.
The Farmhouse (1998)
WORST Movie of ALL TIME
I cannot believe anyone in their right mind could like a film like this. Complete with zero plot, slow pacing, abysmal acting, ridiculous dialog, this train-wreck literally crashes and burns. The characters are unlikable, one-dimensional caricatures that you can't care about. The film really goes nowhere; I had to force myself to sit through it without fast-forwarding or just shutting it off. I kept thinking maybe there would be a surprisingly good ending, but that's all it did...just end. The director and producer of this steaming pile of doo-doo should be ashamed. I hope they lost lots and lots of money making this turkey. Better luck next time!!!
Vacancy 2: The First Cut (2008)
Very Disappointing Remake - Nothing Like the Original
When I read the premise of this film from the back of the DVD, I expected something even better than the original. Unfortunately it is worse. What we get is something almost totally unrelated to the original. First mistake was using a different motel and different characters. From there it just continued downhill and ended up totally ridiculous and forgettable. The prequel would have been MUCH better if they had used not only the original Pinewood motel (which was a GREAT set and MUCH creepier!) but also the original cast, which were much more believable and much more interesting. But alas, that's not what we get here so don't even bother. One star for effort.
Harm's Way (2008)
Scary and Suspenseful
This brilliant, suspenseful little thriller will surprise even the most jaded movie buff. With a fairly original (albeit predictable) plot, great special FX and some mighty terrific acting, the director of this one did a fantastic job and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this fast paced, edgy drama. While some will probably compare it to a "Lifetime for Women" TV movie, there were enough thrills and gratuitous violence to keep me entertained throughout the film. Kathleen Quinlan really went over the top in her role of a psychotic farm woman and reminded me of Kathy Bates in "Misery". The setting was quite creepy and the soundtrack, lighting and camera work were superb. Check it out! 8 stars.
Yes!!! Old School Horror is Back!!!!
What a treat...this one has it all! A good mystery, a great ghost story, a taste of the slasher genre, some deadpan humor....throw it all together and you get a cross between "Scream" and "Ghost Story"...a nice throwback to the '70s and '80s classic horror genre. I enjoyed every single minute of this roller coaster ride. Good film quality, nice camera work, remarkable special effects for the budget, decent acting...and even Lou Diamond Phillips. What more can you ask for? Too bad mom didn't get "offed", though...her Mommie Dearest personality certainly warranted it. Great effort on the part of the director and cast. I give it 8 stars.
Crazy Eights (2006)
You Have Been Warned!!!
How this abominable piece of garbage even made it to the horrorfest, let alone DVD, is beyond the scope of my comprehension. What an absolute waste of a $4.23 Blockbuster rental fee! The really sad part is that the setting was quite creepy, but they failed to do anything with it to make it even the least bit scary or intense. The people that appeared in this film were doing something that I can't even call acting....what I can call it is a travesty. And the plot was as thin as the script. And talk about BORING...I had to turn this mess off halfway through to keep from literally falling asleep. The director/producer of this crap should stick with his day job. I would give this zero stars if that were possible, so remember, you have been warned!!!!
Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008)
This brilliant, over-the-top dark-humored romp is sure to please fans of both the horror and cult genres. With an original (albeit predictable) plot, great special FX, shameless over-acting and numerous tongue-in-cheek lines, this uproarious little gem is destined to be a cult classic. Despite the rather brief plot summary on the DVD, you'll be pleasantly surprised...I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this latest Charles Band installment. I had not been an avid fan before, but I've got to give Mr. Band "two thumbs up" on this one. The "worry dolls" were exceptionally disturbing....keep up the good work, Charles! Eight stars.
The Good Humor Man (2005)
Just Boring......Put Me to Sleep
When I think of a 1970s-period film, this is not what I think of. I don't want a monotonous, one-song Robin Trower soundtrack; I want a soundtrack punctuated with the top-40 bubblegum songs of the day that epitomized the '70s. The generic karaoke-style disco music during the prom scene was especially annoying. The acting (if you can call it that) was very wooden, and seemed just read from script in monotone. The film quality and camera work was horrid; the dialog murky, the script seemed thrown together without much thought and the plot was thin if not nonexistent. I can't believe people are giving it the high ratings I've read here. Basically a forgettable, poor attempt at recreating a beloved era of the past. Two stars is all I can come up with. Sorry, guys.
Storm Warning (2007)
I can't believe any true fan of the horror genre can walk away from this film without fully appreciating it for what it offers. This movie really delivers on several levels. First, for a low-budget film, the cinematography is breathtaking. The film grade used is not grainy like you might expect for the budget, the camera work is exceptional, and the lighting is expertly used to create many different moods. Also, the soundtrack is awesome, with a lot of bass that will make your sub-woofer work overtime. Second, the acting is well above-average for the genre, and all actors deliver convincing performances in roles that make this situation particularly believable. I was unable to tear myself away from this film for a second, and it is a roller coaster ride that has to be seen to be believed! Nine stars.
Juarez, Mexico (2005)
You Have Been Warned!!!!
How this abominable piece of garbage even made it to DVD is beyond the scope of my comprehension. What an absolute waste of a $4.23 Blockbuster rental fee! Literally, a bunch of high school kids with a video camera could have done a better job. The film quality, camera work, editing, etc. was simply terrible. The people that appeared in this film were doing something that I can't even call acting....what I can call it is a travesty. And the plot was as thin as the script. The director/producer of this crap should stick with his day job. I would give this zero stars if that were possible, so remember, you have been warned!!!!
The Killing Floor (2007)
Not Nearly as Good as I'd Hoped
Starting out pretty decent, about mid-way through the film starting going downhill, and really fizzled to a bomb at the end. Even with a good creepy tone set early on, the movie just doesn't seem to go anywhere and I eventually found myself just wishing it would end. The lead actor is not very convincing in his role and just seems like he's bored with the script. Unfortunately the other characters are rather one-dimensional as well. We really don't get to know these people enough to care what happens to them, and the predictable plot just doesn't leave much to the imagination. I give it a three out of ten; watch it only if you can't find something better.
Don't Be Fooled by the UNRATED Designation
I can't understand why this is considered "unrated". There was no significant gore, no graphic nudity, no torture....nothing but the typical "R" rated schlock that continues to be churned out by amateur horror filmmakers. Other than about five seconds of the usual boring fake sex footage with the two main characters, there is nothing even really "R" rated in this film. In fact it is a very slow-moving, poorly acted, poorly scripted, tangled mess. The plot is very thin and predictable, the camera work terrible, and it's not the least bit scary. The prison setting (especially the closed-off section) does provide a bit of eerieness, but is otherwise ruined by the above-mentioned flaws. Just another unforgettable movie to throw on the scrap-heap of bad low-budget horror films. 2 stars
Rescue Dawn (2006)
The film was tedious to sit through at times, with many lines difficult to hear. But the worst was Christian Bale's acting. His character was totally unbelievable and one-dimensional. Steve Zahn has twice the talent as Bale; he should have had the lead role, in my opinion. What really ruined the film for me, though, was despite the fact that while Bale's and Zahn's characters seemed very close, Dieter barely acknowledged Martin's death at the end...save for a couple of brief hallucinations. Dieter did not exhibit any signs of grief at Martin's loss...and after Dieter was rescued he just seemed nothing but happy, which completely discounted any bond they may have had previously. In fact, Martin was not even mentioned again. Overall, poor job on the writer's part, and poor acting on Bale's part. 4 stars.
Don't Buy Into the Positive Reviews of This Film!
What an utter waste of time this turkey is! The only positive thing I have to say is that I chose this one for my "freebie" at Blockbuster, and boy am I glad I did. I repeat what several other posters here have said: DO NOT BUY INTO THE POSITIVE REVIEWS OF THIS FILM...it is obvious they were written by the people connected with its production. The film started out promising, but then went downhill from there. I kept desperately hoping it would get better, but that never happened. The worst thing about it, besides the bad camera work, bad acting, bad writing, bad FX, etc., is the total lack of a plot. We never get to know these characters, so don't care one iota about what happens to them. In fact I was soooooo glad when that screaming b*tch got her tongue cut out to shut her up. If you want to see a REAL horror-torture film, rent the newly-released Hostel Part II.
Factory Girl (2006)
What an Embarrassing Piece of Garbage
Can you say BORING??? I decided to rent this DVD to watch with a group of close friends, based on the great reviews on the package, and the fact that the premise sounded so good. What I encountered was an absolute piece of CRAP that should never have even been released, even to DVD. It was so painful to sit through, hoping desperately that it would get better, until finally it had to be turned off to keep everyone from falling asleep. Disgraceful writing, abominable acting, directing and camera work. The producer/director should be so ashamed of this turkey. Yadda Yadda Yadda...have to have enough lines here....Yadda Yadda Yadda. Trust me...steer clear of this one at ALL COSTS!!!!
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
One of the Goriest Horror Films of All Time
The Hellraiser series of horror films has always been one step ahead of its peers in the gore department, and Hellbound: Hellraiser II went all out to prove this in probably one of the goriest, nastiest, most disgusting scene ever filmed. I'm referring to, of course, the horrific scene of a mental patient slashing himself repeatedly with a straight razor to "rid" himself of the hallucination of being covered with bugs. The premise is that the mattress that Julia from the original film died on is possessed with her spirit, and that she needs blood to resurrect herself. Well, she gets plenty via the poor mental patient, who unloads buckets of it onto the mattress, thus bringing Julia screaming and dripping right out of the middle of it. It is a very difficult scene to watch; I have to give the director/producer credit for the sheer horror of it as is extremely effective. Definitely not for the squeamish!
One Scary Little Masterpiece!
I am still creeped out over this film the morning after seeing it and can't seem to shake that feeling. In fact, this one is my newest addition to the top 10 scariest movies of all time. If the premise of this film isn't anyone's worst nightmare, I don't know what it. You can really put yourself in the place of the couple in peril, and wonder what you might do to get out of the situation. Once again, this is proof that the 'scariest' monster is not a zombie or vampire, it is a psychotic human being. Some have complained about the 'slow' build, but I felt it was necessary to really get one's interest going to find out what happens in the end. I couldn't take my eyes from the screen for one second the entire film. Kudos to the director and crew of this 'nasty' little masterpiece! Eight stars.
The Cradle (2007)
Surprisingly Good and Definitely Worthwhile!
This film is a surprisingly effective and creepy little masterpiece that is a cut above its peers. Most horror films made on a shoestring budget and with a small cast such as this one are substandard, but it works in this case, creating an unsettling realistic feel. This is due in part to good actors who are able to really create three-dimensional characters, something generally not seen in low-budget horror film-making. This particular film almost felt as if it were made in the 1970s, as it conjured up memories of movies I saw as a child which I found terrifying. Once again it can be proved that the absence of gore in a horror film can actually make the movie MORE frightening and disturbing, and this one is an excellent example of that technique. I hope other horror filmmakers can take a cue from this director and bring back the REAL horror movie as we remember it.
In a Dark Place (2006)
Watch it for Tara Fitzgerald if Nothing Else
Yes, the storyline is something we've all seen before. But what makes the film worth watching is Tara Fitzgerald's performance as the cold, domineering headmistress of the house. Fitzgerald chews through every piece of scenery she's in, and creates a very believable three-dimensional character. Unfortunately her role is wasted on being paired with Leelee Sobieski, who just doesn't seem to grasp what's going on. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, seems to know just the right moves to make Miss Grose unlikable, while at the same time making us care for her. Sadly, there are very few actress today who can do this. I hope to see more of her!
Surprisingly Chilling and Effective...Above Average for its Genre
Driven by the chillingly-believable portrayal of Richard Speck by Corin Nemec, this is a brutal, difficult-to-watch film which re-enacts the events of July 14, 1966 when nine student nurses were held captive and eight butchered in cold blood in a Chicago nurses' college dormitory. This movie really packs a wallop, and is a cut above most of its peers within the genre. The sequences inside the dormitory with Speck and the nurses is especially disturbing and frightening, and the actresses delivered worthy performances in their roles; you actually felt their fear as the night of horror progressed. Highly recommended; eight out of 10 rating.
The Hitcher (2007)
To all the bashers of this film.....remember 'Black Christmas'
Okay, so it wasn't the BEST horror film in the world...at least it was entertaining. That's more than I can say for the remake of 'Black Christmas' which was a pathetic attempt at recreating one of the scariest and best original horror flicks of all time. At least I didn't fall asleep during 'Hitcher' like I did 'Christmas'. And another thing...who the heck ever said the original 'Hitcher' was all that great anyway? C. Thomas Howell couldn't act his way out of a paper sack...I mean, did he even DO anything else after that film? Methinks not. So quit making the original 'Hitcher' and C. Thomas Howell sound so much better than they actually were while bashing the new 'Hitcher'. As far as I'm concerned this was a very good remake in comparison to worthless trash like the new 'Black Christmas'. 'nuff said!
Crowhaven Farm (1970)
They Sure Don't Make 'em Like This Anymore!
While Crowhaven Farm was not the BEST made-for-TV chiller of its era, it does rank up there with the dozen or so that tend to stand out in the minds of baby boomers raised during TV's golden age. Forget the special effects that seem so essential to the success of today's horror movies; this one forces you to rely strictly on your imagination (remember that thing in your head???) to understand its premise. This movie was made in 1970, during the final season of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", and, like several typecast actresses of the period, Hope Lange attempted to "break away" from her sitcom character much like Elizabeth Montgomery did in "The Victim" (remember THAT one???) and did it quite effectively. Crowhaven Farm is simply chilling, with the grainy film grade and squealing violins in the soundtrack adding to the unsettling feel of the film. This genre of film will probably never see a comeback, due to the all the computer-technology wars in horror films made today, but at least we'll always have them to look back on. EIGHT STARS.
Off the Black (2006)
Total Waste of Time
I watched this movie with anticipation, because I've always enjoyed most of what Nick Nolte has done in the past. But I just simply couldn't grasp this plodding film, its ridiculous premise, its weak storyline, the poor acting and bad direction. Virtually every person in this film seemed catatonic, especially Tim Hutton. Why did he even bother? His character was so one-dimensional and shallow it was like he wasn't even there. There was a total lack of chemistry between Trevor Morgan and Nick Nolte, which made the film drag and I found myself just wishing it would end after about 3/4 through it. I imagine this film will fade away quickly into the abyss of forgettable celluloid trash. NEXT!!!
Evil Behind You (2006)
How in the WORLD did this end up on DVD???
I would have given this LESS than a 1 rating if it were possible. The entire film should have been left on the cutting-room floor. What a pathetic waste of time, money and effort! Let's see...assemble the prettiest cast you can find (which of course is in direct proportion to the amount of talent they lack)...throw together the thinnest plot you can dig up...and viola! An abominable piece of trash that the director and/or producer should be ashamed to put their name on. How much WORSE can the horror genre get? And don't use "low budget" as an excuse...I have seen many GREAT low-budget films....in fact some of the best horror classics of all time were low-budget. If you don't have the talent and ingenuity to make a GOOD horror film, then for God's sake don't make one at all!!!